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Making sure everyone has a safe work environment is a requirement for every employer. Employee safety should always be of the highest concern. Approximately 100 deaths and 36000 injuries are caused by forklifts, with 20 to 25 percent of these casualties being due to the operator not being properly trained. Below are some guidelines you need to make sure your business follows for proper forklift safety. Additional safety considerations can be obtained by reviewing OSHA article 1910.178, as it provides guidelines and regulations that are required to be followed.
Make Plant Managers and Supervisors Aware that they are Accountable for Maintaining Safety Guidelines
Plant managers and supervisors need to be aware that they are responsible for making sure everyone transporting material has a safe working environment. They are required to train and monitor all forklift operators to ensure they are following the proper safety guideless established by OSHA, as well as those established for your plant’s operations and work environment. Improperly following these procedures can cause havoc for danger. They should also be responsible for establishing safety meetings and establishing a safety committee.
Proper Inspection by Forklift Operators
OSHA requires that forklift operators properly inspect the forklift before operating them. There should be an inspection checklist completed each day by the operator to ensure everything is properly inspected prior to operation. If you are needing to find an example inspection checklist you can go here.
Fuel and battery handling
Dependent upon whether you are running combustion engine or battery operated forklift truck, proper requirements on properly handling and using fuel and batteries must be established. Fuel should be in fire protected containers and should be stored in a safe location. Batteries should also have a designated area where they should be charged. Both fuel and batteries can be dangerous, and all guidelines established by OSHA must be followed.
Forklift Operator Training
OSHA requires that the forklift operator be competent to operate any type of powered truck safely, and needs to be properly trained by an OSHA certified trainer. They should be able to understand the importance of safety and demonstrate being extremely cautious when operating a forklift and transporting material. Operators should not only consider their own safety when operating a forklift, but need to also consider pedestrians. Just like operating an automobile, pedestrians should have the right of way at all times to ensure that they are consistently safe. It is also mandatory that operators understand that they should not ride anyone on the forklift, as this can cause havoc to accident.
Loading and Unloading Material
All proper guidelines must be established for loading and unloading material with forklifts. Weight capacities must be established and enforced. Operators should be aware of all capacities that are established. When tilting material forward or backwards, extreme caution needs to be considered. The operator should make sure safety cautions are established for pedestrians, keeping an eye our for them when loading and unloading material—as material may tilt over and land on them. When forklift attachments are used for transporting material, special caution must be made. The attachment needs to be inspected before operating, especially to ensure that it is properly attached.